Chapters involved in the defence of Cadia
With the forces of Abaddon the Despoiler flooding through the Cadian Gate, the Imperium's defences are hard-pressed to stem the tide of Chaos threatening to overwhelm them. But, amongst the defenders stand at least twenty Space Marine Chapters: the very finest warriors in all the armies of Mankind. Scriveners Haines and Hoare report from the front lines on a setection of the Space Marine Chapters standing resolute before the invasion.
Untold thousands of Imperial Guardsmen man the defences of the fortress worlds of the Cadian Gate. Though they stand before the teeming hordes of Chaos with courage and honour, they are but men, and subject to the limitations of a man's flesh. There is however, another force set before the Despoiler, though they number but one warrior for every battalion of Imperial Guard. The superhuman Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes stand above the rank and file of Humanity, ready to sacrifice all in the name of the immortal God-Emperor of Mankind.
When the Governor Primus of Cadia sent out his plea for aid to the sectors surrounding the Cadian Gate, the Space Wolves were amongst the first to answer. Mobilising his entire chapter, Logan Grimnar, the Space Wolves' Chapter Master, recalled every one of his twelve Great Companies from whatever missions they were engaged upon, and set course for the Cadian Gate. Grimnar arrived at Cadia at the head of a grand fleet consisting of the ships of five of the Great Companies, and wasted no time in calling for a council of war with the Governor Primus and the Lord Castellan of Cadia.
The council decided that the skills of the Space Wolves would be best utilised by dispatching individual Great Companies to specific areas, where they could respond as and when a threat appeared. Grimnar's own Great Company attached itself to the fleet of Admiral Quarren and first saw action within weeks of their arrival at the battle of Ormantep. It is reported that Grimnar's Rune Priests had forewarned him of the intervention of the legendary, long-lost Space Wolves 13th Great Company at the ground battle for the listening station that preceded the space battle. The Great Wolf himself would not be drawn to comment on the matter, and no trace of the 13th Company was discovered.
When the full force of Abaddon's Black Crusade broke, Grimnar and his Great Company fought alongside Quarren as the fleet attempted to forestall the invasion of Cadia. The last confirmed contact with Grimnar reported that his Great Company was set to attempt planetfall on Cadia as the last of the orbilal defences fell. Whether or not the action was successful is not yet clear, but it is known that the Old Wolf's fleet withdrew to Kantrael alongside Admiral Quarren's ships without the warriors of the 1st Great Company.
Seven of the eight companies dispatched by the Howling Griffons are currently engaged in a gruelling trench-war on Amistel Majoris. Having broken through the Plague Fleet blockading the world, the 2nd to 8th Companies arrived in time to bolster the Drookian Fen Guard, who were suffering horrific losses to the hell-spawned epidemics unleashed by the traitor forces facing them. Within days, the Howling Griffons and the Legio Astorum Titans were the only force able to man the extensive defences constructed by the Drookians. Any warrior caught in the open and not protected by power armour when the plague winds hit could be sure of an excruciating death, and an eternity of servitude as a plague zombie in Nurgle's legions.
The 1st Company of the Howling Griffons, including Chapter Master Alvaro, are currently based on the battle barge Force of Destiny, and are engaged persecuie a company of Night Lords under the command of the infamous Daemon Prince Periclitor, It is widely known that the Howling Griffons harbour a particularly deep hatred of this Daemon Prince. While that hatred serves the greater needs of the Imperium's defence against the forces of Chaos, no other authority has sought to question Alvaro's actions.
When an apparently small-scale cult uprising on Lelithar turned into bloody revolt, the Lelithar Planetary Defence Force found itself unable to challenge the leader of the rebellion, a shadowy individual referred to as 'The Voice' by his followers.
The Imperium's response to the uprising was swift and brutal. Three companies of the Death Spectres Chapter, alongside the Imperial Guard of the Jouran 146th Regiment and the Titans of the Legio Ignatum, carried out the Gorgosa Landings, encircling and laying siege to the world's capital. Within weeks, concentric lines of trenches and gun positions circumvallated the city. Hundreds of square miles of minefields were laid, and the entire area riddled with razor wire.
As the siege grinds on, the Death Spectres are adopting a fluid style of warfare allowing their jump pack equipped Assault squads to react quickly to any gains the Imperial Guard can force. In this manner they have succeeded in infiltrating a number of breaches in the massive city walls, carrying out sabotage missions deep within the citadel before withdrawing under the cover of another assault. However, despite these successes, the Siege of Gorgosa shows no sign of immediate conclusion, and the Death Spectres are set to remain engaged on Lelithar indefinitely.
The Subjugators Chapter despatched three companies direct to Cadia within days of receiving word that the Despoiler had returned, vowing that the remainder of the chapter's resources would be mustered as soon as was possible. The chapter arrived aboard two mighty battle barges just as the Chaos fleet was commencing the invasion of Cadia. The Subjugators threw themselves straight into the conflict, during which the 3rd Company distinguished itself by triggering the reactor overload that destroyed one of the Ramilies star forts orbiting Cadia, at the very moment the forces of Chaos gained control over it. Only a handful of the 3rd Company escaped the subsequent explosion, but their heroic sacrifice undoubtedly saved the lives of many thousands of Imperial defenders on the surface of Cadia, who would otherwise have found themselves facing the might of the fort's guns.
All the so-called 'Unforgiven' Chapters are known to be heavily active throughout every warzone around the Eye of Terror, though they are not fighting as part of any coordinated defensive strategy, and do not acknowledge the authority of anyone other than Azrael, the Grand Master of the Dark Angels.
The Dark Angels are based upon a massive, space-borne fortress monastery built upon a continent-sized fragment of their destroyed home world of Caliban. This mighty vessel has been sighted on a number of occasions, in widely separated areas of space. The chapter is a secretive and shadowy force, and the nature of their base is the subject of myth and legend. Thus, the scattered reports of it have, in most instances, been dismissed as the ravings of over-stretched and over-tired ships' crews.
The battles in which the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven Chapters have taken a hand appear unconnected to Imperial Strategics, and unconcerned with the needs of other Imperial forces. Others have pointed out that the Unforgiven are, as they have done many times in their history, pursuing a strategy of their own. The only pattern noted to date is that a large number of actions have been fought in the vicinity of the ruins of Caliban, though the nature of the enemy, and the objective is as yet unclear.
Upon arriving at the Cadian Gate, the Doom Eagles Chapter dispatched forces to a number of warzones, notably areas that had already suffered terribly at the hands of Chaos. The largest of these detachments, under the command of Captain Luctus of the 3rd Company, is currently involved in operations within the Belis Corona sub-sector, where the notoriously pious chapter are battling those who have fallen to the Curse of Unbelief. Only those without the strength of faith to resist are afflicted by the plague, and it has been noted that not a single Doom Eagles battle-brother has been touched by its blight.
The Doom Eagles have proven effective in combating the plague zombies infesting many worlds of the sub-sector, though, typically for this aloof chapter, they have refused all offers of support in consolidating these successes.
Led by their Chapter Master, Commander Maxim Absolon, the Marines Exemplar committed all but a single reserve company to the defence of the Cadian Gate early in the conflict, arriving less than a week after the Space Wolves Chapter. Accepting Grimnar as the more experienced commander, Absolon allowed his companies to be deployed according to the Great Wolf's strategy, which saw them despatched across all the warzones to bolster those defences most in danger of falling.
Tragically, Absolon was lost in the opening phase of the conflict, as his company attempted to extract the senior staff of an Astropathic way station before the forces of the Despoiler overwhelmed the jungle moon on which it was located. The 5th Columnus, a Traitor Imperial Guard unit led by the demagogue, Colonel Jobe, were making a push towards the Belis Corona system, but had first to secure the jungle moon. Greatly outnumbered, Absolon led his force in a desperate breakout, and although the majority of the company escaped, the commander's Thunderhawk gunship was shot down, exploding as it failed to clear the jungle canopy.
The commander is listed as missing in action, though the Marines Exemplar have not given up hope that he may have survived the crash and is active behind enemy lines. However, Absolon's second in command. Captain Raoul has distanced the chapter from Logan Grimnar's Council of War, preferring instead to deploy the companies as his own advisors see fit.
Although they have most recently been heard of purging Orks from the Piscinan Belt the Harbinger Chapter has an old score to settle with the Death Guard. The Chapters' origins can be traced back to a raid on their Black Planet home world by the Death Guard, aided by Fabius Bile. Their Chapter Master, Nimrod Grudge, received early word of the Plague of Unbelief and mobilised the Chapter accordingly. Leaving most of the Chapter either in the Piscina system or on the Black Planet the Harbinger 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th Companies boarded their battle barge, Unrelenting Fury, and set course for Nemesis Tessera.
Immediately upon their arrival they were recruited for a special mission. As the Harbingers are known for their skill in the arts of boarding space hulks and launching planetary assaults, it can only be assumed that their mission involves the use of these particular skills.
Ten thousand years ago. in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, decreed that his chapter would stand ready to oppose the Traitors that fled to the Eye of Terror should they ever return to plague the Imperium. The Ultramarines took no part in the Battte of the Emperor's Palace, as they were fighting half a galaxy away, and Guilliman was determined that his chapter would never find itself unable to respond to such a threat again.
The solution was to ensure a continuous presence in the vicinity of the Eye of Terror, by maintaining an honour guard made up of individual squads from different companies. In time, the chapter's commitments across the Imperium necessitated that the other Primogenitor chapters - the second founding successors of the Ultramarines, should also provide squads.
For the last ten thousand years this guard has maintained a presence at the Cadian Gate, standing firm alongside the other chapters stationed there to challenge any Black Crusade that threatens Cadia's defences. At the outset of the 13th Black Crusade, the force is comprised almost entirely of Ultramarines squads, alongside which stand a number of detachments from the chapter's successors. The honour guard has already seen action in a number of engagements, notably the Defence of Narsine and the Sarlax Reprisals, lending the legendary courage and honour of the Ultramarines and their kin to the defence of the Cadia Gate.
The call to arms has been issued across the Segmentum Obscurus and beyond, and the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes have been at the forefront of those to answer. As Abaddon's blasphemous hordes smash into the defences of the Cadian Gate, battle barges belonging to at least a score of chapters are even now ploughing through the Immaterium, making best speed for the warzones surrounding the Ocularis Terribus. Amongst these chapters are known to be the Blood Angels, the Imperial Fists, the Salamanders and the Black Templars, each of which is sworn by ancient oaths to defend Humanity against those traders who foreswore their own vows ten millennia ago. The beleaguered defenders of the Cadian Gate can only pray that these legendary warriors arrive in time to stem the tide of filth.